Healthy Recipes

Brrrrrrrrrr!! Just wait until you see what yummy recipes we have to help warm you up on those cold winter nights - and they are both made easily in your slow cooker. The Vegetable Pastitsio is a savory Greek casserole - a variation on lasagna - so satisfying your family will never know it's meatless. And an absolutely yummy Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup, so chock full of hearty sausage and tender vegetables, it's a meal-in-a-bowl.

Vegetable Pastitsio

Please accept our apologies - our initial version was in error, we inadvertently left out an ingredient and a paragraph of instruction. The missing ingredient and corrected instructions are in red.

Prep: 1 hour
Slow Cook: 3-4 hrs (high), 6-9 hrs (low)
Serves: 8

Pasta Custard Layer
3 c. uncooked penne or ziti
1/4 c. unsalted butter
1/4 c. whole grain flour
1 ca (13 oz) organic evaporated milk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. small-curd cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
1 c. shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

Vegetable Layer
1 tbsp cold-pressed oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 c. whole kernel corn (can be frozen)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

To make Pasta Custard Layer:
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly to prevent browning, for 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine eggs with about 1/2 cup sauce, mixing well. Add remaining sauce, cottage and mozzarella cheeses, and reserved pasta. Set aside.

To make Vegetable Layer:

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, zucchini and carrot; cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add corn, tomato sauce, oregano, cinnamon, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased slow cooker. Spread spinach over pasta and spoon vegetable mixture over spinach. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Cover and cook on High 3 to 4 hours or on Low 6 to 9 hours, until mixture is bubbling. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Tip: This recipe can be made a day ahead. Just follow recipe up to the "cover and cook stage" and put the slow cooker stoneware in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, place the stoneware back in the cooker and cover and cook as directed.

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Prep: 20 minutes
Slow Cook: 3-4 hrs (high), 6-10 hrs (low)
Finish: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 6

1 pound hot or mild (according to your taste) Italian sausages, casing removed
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cups beef or chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried Italian herb seasoning
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (19 oz) chopped tomatoes in juice (reserve juices)
2 c. sliced mushrooms
1 pkg (10 oz) fresh or frozen cheese-filled tortellini, cooked according to package directions and drained
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage 8-10 minutes or until browned, stirring to break up the meat. Drain and then transfer to slow cooker along with onion, carrots, broth, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, tomato sauce, tomatoes, and mushrooms.

Cover and cook on High 3-4 hours or on Low 6-10 hours, or until vegetables are tender.

15-20 minutes before serving add the zucchini and cooked tortellini and cook until zucchini is tender.

To serve spoon into individual bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Posted January 2009 | Permanent Link

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